Summertime for former BYU and Timpview football star Bronson Kaufusi includes spending time with his family and preparing to play pro football in the fall, this year with the Green Bay Packers after stints with the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets.
But that’s not all he does.
Kaufusi also keeps busy with side businesses and this year he saw an opportunity.
“With the news of name, image and likeness changes, a lot of athletes started calling me asking for help and what to do,” Kaufusi said in a phone interview on Thursday. “They know I do stuff outside of football. I came up with this idea to help connect them to businesses.”
One of the beauties of the idea that became ConnectNIL.com was its simplicity.
“We have businesses who list marketing opportunities for the college athletes,” Kaufusi said. “The college athletes then go on there and they at the opportunities that are there. They then click to apply and it connects them so they are into the mix.”
Kaufusi recalled his college days where his peers often had a tough time navigating the financial side of life.
“Even $100 makes a big difference to a college athlete,” Kaufusi said. “It allows them to take better care of their bodies. I felt like we needed to help college athletes out. I want them to be taken care of and this is a great tool they can use. I think it will help a lot of college athletes.”
He said from the time he had the idea to when it was rolled out on Wednesday was just over a week.
“I’ve been following it closely and thinking about what I could do to help,” Kaufusi said. “I love helping athletes learn financial literacy and different business skills. It moved really fast.”
It just 24 hours since it was launched, the response to ConnectNIL has been significant, according to Kaufusi.
“I’m getting messages from athletes saying. ‘thank you so much for building this,’” Kaufusi said. “That’s really cool. I love seeing my phone ping with athletes getting on there. I also love how the businesses are super-excited. I see it as a snowball that can’t be stopped and it’s going to be massive.”
He already got a connection through the program as a skateboard company in Provo signed up Bronson Kaufusi’s younger brother, Devin Kaufusi, who plays football at the University of Utah.
He envisions ConnectNIL as a place where athletes can market themselves and see the rewards.
“I love that about it,” Bronson Kaufusi said. “They can get after it themselves, which I think is something that is always important. Athletes are very, very driven people. ConnectNIL gives them that opportunity in a different way then their sport.”
This platform as well as many aspects of NIL are in the beginning stages and there are a lot of things still to work out. Bronson Kaufusi thought about being a high school athlete, a college athlete and now a pro athlete and said he likes the potential of what it can do for individuals.
“The most positive thing that I love about it is that the opportunity is there,” Bronson Kaufusi said. “For so long, they haven’t had the chance to capitalize off it. There is a lot of earning power in the college sports world, so I think it is so big that they have that opportunity today. I think it is going to change a lot of things, from the high school level all the way up. It’s going to constantly evolve.”
He said the only negative thing he could come up with is if athletes feel like they are unable to take advantage of this.
“That’s why started ConnectNIL because it is built for every athlete,” Bronson Kaufusi said. “If you miss the opportunity, that would be the only drawback. Certain players who have the spotlight more might get more opportunities. That’s something I’m concerned about. I almost feel like an older brother to these college athletes. I know they are going to need some help to navigate this. We were them, so that’s why we need to help and do our part.”
For more details or for athletes or businesses to sign up, go to http://ConnectNIL.com.